There is a look in the encounter, from the unmasked to the masked.
This is that unstated message, as so, is totally inferred, perhaps imagined?
I feel it each time in encounter with ay service person, pumping gas, or in an encounter outside our bubble home.
When I am masked or first to mask, the wave of a sense of heavy reluctance to do the same. That I am forcing a hand.
Or when stated someone seeing me masked tries to reassure me “Oh you do not have to do that.” It feels like the suggestion is that there is something wrong with me.
It’s not me I am doing this for.
There’s an inference it seems of weakness to don a mask, as if a piece of cloth can take your
More than 10 years ago I had clocked something like 80% of my time in travel. One globe circling trip included time in China and Japan. I’d noticed more than a few times seeing people wearing masks in public, something not seen in the west. We go out in public, sneezing sniffling at best coughing into an elbow.
On the end of that trip it all caught up to me and I was deadly sick. Something similar happened the year before on a 2 week non stop presenting tour in Australia. My friends there labeled it the CogDogWog. This time it was serious, after getting home I was diagnosed with a severe case of bronchitis.
On that last long ocean crossing flight home, a flight attendant came back to the sniffling mess in 28C (I am making that up but it was in the back) and offered me if I minded wearing one out of respect to the other passengers.
I remembered a flash of revolted feeling, that I would signal myself as? Weak? Not in control? But it was a flash. What right do I have to spread my sick crud in the air? At some level I knew I should not even had boarded that enclosed chamber but I so selfishly wanted to go home.
Maybe it was fitting maybe 6 years later, returning from project work in Mexico, I was hyper aware of the coughing, sneezing passenger behind me. I ended up getting sick 2 days later.
For all our human bravado and accomplishments, creating machines that fly in the air and others that zing to other planets, that our entire civilization has been brought to its knees by a strand of molecular glob so small we can’t see it, that it floats on water droplets.
The virus does not care about your politics, religion, the size of your home, your tastes in music, what books you read, your family story, your dreams, your fear. All it wants to is spread and multiply.
And it certainly does not care about your fears of being perceived as weak, because you are that terrified to wear a piece of cloth over your face. That we saunter with some mathematically improbable sense of immunity that you truly lack.
This all passes through my head in those quick encounters of reluctant maskulation.
Maybe it’s just in my head. But better than being in my lungs.
Featured image: CC By image by me. I am writing in the iOS app and miss my Flickr cc attribution tool.